An in-depth look at organizing labels

I’m a big fan of labels. Labels tell everyone where things belong. Labels indicate that only items of a certain type belong in a certain place. Labels help you remember where you put stuff.

There are many different types of labels that can be used and each type has advantages and disadvantages. The following are things to consider when choosing labels for your next organizing project.

Permanent or Removable

Permanent labels are intended for one time use. Peeling off a permanent label will generally destroy the label or the object to which it is attached, or both. Address labels on paper envelopes are a good example of permanent labels.

Removable labels are made with a special adhesive that, rather than sticking to the surface of the object, sticks to the label, and leaves the surface clean. Removable labels do not damage the object to which they are attached and can often be re-used. Post-It Notes are a good example of removable labels.

The object to which a label is attached and the conditions in which it is used can influence whether or not the label is permanent or not. For example, an address label that is designed to be permanently attached to a paper envelope may be easily removed from a plastic bin. It may not even stick to the plastic bin if the conditions are cold or damp. Sometimes removable labels may end up permanently adhered to surfaces if they are left on for a long time or exposed to excessive heat or pressure.

Always evaluate the type of material that you need to adhere the label to prior to purchasing the labels. Consider how long the label will be left in place and what the storage conditions will be.

Handwritten or Computer Printed

If you’ve got terrible handwriting, it may be better to use a computer or label maker to create labels because then everyone can read it. However, it takes time to make labels on a computer but it is easy to print many copies of the same label. Some labels are meant to be only for laser printers and some for only inkjet printers so always confirm that you’ve got the right labels for your printer. Some types of printer ink runs in damp conditions or fades in bright light. In these harsh conditions, it may be better to use a plasticized label.

Label makers print clear, easy-to-read labels that can be used in a variety of conditions. However, they tend to be limited in the sizes and colours of labels. Most label makers do not have a wide variety of fonts.

If the label is permanent on the container but the contents change, dry erase or chalkboard labels might be the best to use for your needs. They are a good choice if you are creative and enjoy making handwritten labels. An alternative is the Identa-label system. It is comprised of transparent plastic pockets that hold index cards. You can use a computer to print the index cards or they can be hand written.

Safety Considerations

While copper labels would look lovely in the garden, they would not be appropriate in a home with small children or pets. Labels can be detached and chewed on or swallowed. Some types of key ring labels may contain parts that could injure children and animals, too. Tag labels with string can be wound around tiny fingers and paws and cause injury.

Colours and Sizes

Once you have taken the above information into consideration, the colour and sizes of labels seems to be limited only by your imagination.

Specialty Stickers

Full page stickers allow you to print your own design or create multiple stickers of any shape, size, or colour.

Tamper-evident hologram warranty void stickers can be placed on bins or boxes to ensure they have not been tampered with. This would be ideal for valuable items sent via mail or courier service. They could also be placed on boxes of paperwork containing sensitive information during a move or in a storage facility.

Iron-on name-tags for clothing are great for identifying children’s clothing for school and camp but they can also be used for labeling the tablecloths you take to the family potluck dinners.

You can purchase pre-printed magnetic labels for toolboxes or create your own with dry-erase magnetic tape. Speaking of toolboxes, “Eye-Saver” big typeface socket labels have imperial and metric stickers in different colours so it is easy to tell which sockets are which.

TrueBlock labels completely hide everything they cover. They are great if you like to reuse shipping and file storage boxes. When you need to get people’s attention, high visibility labels would work well. If you need to see the label in the dark, Epson makes glow-in-the-dark labels for its label makers. You can write on glow in the dark tape to make your own labels.

Plant pot labels can be used to tell your house sitter how and when to water your plants during your vacation.

For holiday parties, reusable cup labels allow each child to have his or her own cup. If all goes as planned, there won’t be any sharing of germs. Adding allergy information to the cup label is a good idea, too. For the grown-ups, there are wine glass labels.

Labels are a wonderful thing, but when they have to be removed, label sticker remover comes in handy.

One Comment for “An in-depth look at organizing labels”

  1. posted by CanadianKate on

    The label sticker remover has my eyebrows raised. Sounds like a unitasker to me and the fact that it can’t be sold to Catalina Island (!?) makes me wonder about it too.

    I guess I’m not much better, though since I own Goo Gone for when hairspray (my non-unitasker choice since it also removes ball point pen ink from clothing and holds wayward hairs in place) doesn’t work.

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